Forensic seismology

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Forensic seismology is the forensic use of the techniques of seismology to detect and study distant phenomena, particularly explosions, including those of nuclear weapons.[1]

Because of the efficiency with which seismic waves propagate through the Earth and the technical difficulties of decoupling explosions to diminish their seismic radiation, forensic seismology is a critical technique in the enforcement of bans on underground nuclear testing.[2]

In addition to nuclear explosions, the signatures of many other kinds of explosions can also be detected and analyzed by forensic seismology,[1] and even other phenomena such as ocean waves (the global microseism), the movement of icebergs across the sea floor or in collision with other icebergs, or explosions within submarines.[3][4]

Organizations with expertise in forensic seismology include AWE Blacknest, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b J. David Rogers and Keith D. Koper. "Some Practical Applications of Forensic Seismology" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  2. ^ John J. Zucca (September 1998). "Forensic Seismology Supports CTBT". Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  3. ^ Richard A. Lovett (5 March 2009). "Forensic seismology". COSMOS magazine. 
  4. ^ Christina Reed (February 2001). "Sinking the Kursk". GeoTimes. Retrieved 2011-09-09.